Understanding the nature and influence of social relationships is of increasing interest to behavioral economists, and behavioral scientists more generally. In turn, this creates a need for tractable, and reliable, tools for measuring fundamental aspects of social relationships. We provide a comprehensive evaluation of the 'Inclusion of the Other in the Self' (IOS) Scale, a handy pictorial tool for measuring the subjectively perceived closeness of a relationship. The tool is highly portable, very easy for subjects to understand and takes less than 1 minute to administer. Across our three online studies with a diverse adult population (n=772) we show that six different scales designed to measure relationship closeness are all highly significantly positively correlated with the IOS Scale. We then conduct a Principal Component Analysis to construct an Index of Relationship Closeness and find that it correlates very strongly (ρ=.85) with the IOS Scale. We conclude that the IOS Scale is a psychologically meaningful and highly reliable measure of the subjective closeness of relationships.
Gaechter, S., Starmer, C., & Tufano, F. (2015). Measuring the closeness of relationships: a comprehensive evaluation of the 'Inclusion of the Other in the Self' scale. PLoS ONE, 10(6), doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0129478